The beginning of a new school year (as a teacher) brings with it an assortment of interesting emotions--sadness that the summer is ending, and that there's never been as much time as I'd hoped; excitement at the prospect of beginning fresh; mild anxiety when I realize I'm not as prepared as I thought I would be...lots of good lessons for simply taking things as they are and not as I wish they would be.
My friend Faith and I had a conversation this summer about the fact that we had alter egos: "perfect Faith" and "perfect Lisa" out there somewhere who woke, ran a few miles, sipped green tea, and were always calm in the face of any circumstance (of course the list could go on and on about what these perfect women would do with their days). I like the idea of this perfect me living out her life in a parallel universe. She gives me something to aspire to, though I think she might be a little boring in her perfection. :)
And my classroom is more akin to the real me than the perfect me. I like to think I'll paint the walls, line the window sills with plants, have the year's lessons completely planned in advance...but the real me spends too much time thinking about the big picture, wrestling with concepts that make the most sense to address, and then, when the year is about to start? I need to reign in this thinking and make it concrete enough to implement. And I put this off until it cannot be any longer.
Regardless, I love beginning again. Each day. And knowing that all along I've been here...that it's all just a continuation and refinement of previous experiences. I love stumbling through. I love having something to work toward. I love the fact that what I'm working toward, and what I consider important to focus on shifts and changes. I love the fact that some of these areas of focus remain constant, because this shows me who I am, who my core "me" is. I continue to work on living a life that is both true to my belief system and in a way that puts positive energy back into the world (I fail on occasion :). I continue to work on being compassionate. I continue to allow my heart to break wider and wider open to take in all that's around me. I love that love is a renewable resource. I continue to acknowledge that the world is not always fair or kind. And I acknowledge that I hate bearing witness to that, especially where youth are concerned, but it is the truth of the world we live in. I'm pretty sure the perfect me is working on a lot of these same things.